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An aileron is a flap attached to an airplane used for navigation and stability.

Invention and patents

Patent GB-1868-392 describes ailerons; perhaps their first use on a vessel was by Robert Esnault-Pelterie in 1904, and their first successful use by Alberto Santos-Dumont in 1906.[1][2]

The Wright Brothers controversially tried to claim they had patented ailerons with Patent US-1903-821393. Charles Harvard Gibbs-Smith wrote in 1956:[1]

The Boulton patent (No. 392 of 1868) was lost to view until the aileron was in general use. The fact that the Wrights' wing-warping patent was held later to cover ailerons does not alter the fact of a prior but lost invention. If the Boulton patent had been known in 1903 to 1906 it is doubtful whether the actions fought by the Wrights would have succeeded.

US patent category USPC 244/90 seems to have its earliest member (Patent US-1909-927605) in 1909 and its next ones in 1911.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Charles Harvard Gibbs-Smith, "The First Aileron; Flight, Correspondence; 11 May 1956; p. 598.
  2. Gibbs-Smith, Aviation, 1970, p. 108.

This wiki has 63 patents in category "Aileron". Other techtypes related to Aileron: USPC 244/48, Wing warping

Patents in category Aileron

Publications referring to Aileron

Enclosing categories Navigation, Stability
Keywords USPC 244/90, Airfoil, Wing-warping
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